Trekathon in aid of Southern Spinal Injuries Trust
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It was an early start for the 12 walkers and 4 support team members of Blake Lapthorn Injury team on Saturday 14 September.
The purple t-shirted walkers smiled and laughed together looking forward to the challenge ahead. The sun shone weakly through a cloudy sky, good walking weather.
At 8am the team set off after a photo at Farley Mount. The support team made its way to the first rendezvous at the three mile point to provide pats on the back, water top ups and encouragement.The team had their first challenge when a cow blocked a foot bridge at St Cross in Winchester. A brave person had to encourage it to move forward so they could all pass, only to find round the next corner that the footpath had been unexpected closed. Thankfully the diversion was well signposted and the team were soon back on track by the water meadows behind Winchester College. The first loo stop at Winchester Cathedral was much appreciated!
Blisters started showing quite early on at mile 6. Blister plasters were applied, feet powdered with talcum powder and a general agreement reached not to think about the number of miles still to come!
By mile 11 at Salters Lane real team spirit started to show with those pained by blisters and hip pain being encouraged by those yet to begin to suffer. There were still lots of smiles and words of determination. The smiles were though rather forced shortly after, as Kym informed the team that she had inadvertently lead them up the wrong path (up being the operative word) and more backtracking was required.
Mile 13 saw the team enjoy a well-earned short break for food back at Farley Mount, the half way point. The mood remained relatively buoyant although everyone knew that the first half of the walk was the easier half, both in terms of fatigue, terrain and ascents to come. At around 1.30 pm, the team set off again on an off-road track through the CountryPark.
Mile 16 at Up Somborne showed a few smiles beginning to turn into grimaces. The weather had turned with sporadic heavy showers meaning that waterproofs were coming on and off at regular intervals. A very kind gentleman (who turned out to be a client of the firm) offered the use of his facilities, which was accepted by some team members with sighs of relief.
The team then trekked a few miles further across fields, arriving at the Crown Inn in King Somborne, where the walkers were welcomed with shandies, toilets and more words of encouragement. The pain was by now evident on some walker's faces. A short distance out of the village, the team were greeted by the sight of their first steep incline and encouraging singing was swapped for less supportive phrases directed at Kym, who had determined the route.
A 3.5 mile loop around the village, incorporating part of the Clarendon Way, the Test Way and Monarch's Way, saw the team re-group once again at the Crown Inn, ahead of the final four and a half mile push back up to Farley Mount. Many of the walkers were by now showing clear signs of fatigue and injury. Every stop resulted in images of people performing various unflattering stretches, desperately trying to keep muscles from seizing up completely.
However, by this point the team as a whole allowed themselves to believe that they were going to be able to complete the entire route, which greatly improved morale, helped by the evening sunlight which had broken through. This belief was very much needed and tested as the team took off on the final leg, an arduous, up hill trek back to Farley mount, which pushed the limits of even the fittest and most determined of walkers.
We are proud to say that all 12 walkers finished the trek with a smile of achievement (and relief) on their face 11 hours after they started. They were met by applause from the support team, who had been on hand at regular predetermined meeting points throughout the day, providing assistance and supplies. It had been an extremely long and challenging day which we hope will result in a substantial sum being raised for the Southern Spinal Injuries Trust.
The final hurdle of collecting in all of the sponsorship monies promised is now well under-way. The grand total is not yet known, however, it is considered to be in excess of Â£2,000. It is still not too late to support the team's great achievement on their fundraising page.
The team are now considering the next challenge. Watch this space.
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